Towards Corpus-driven History of Contemporary Islamic Political Discourse in Turkey and Bosnia

Next month, CASS will welcome visiting researcher Dino Mujadzevic. Read more about his project in his own words, below.


As a visiting researcher during February and March 2015 at the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS), I am looking forward to widening my knowledge on corpus-driven methods in order to integrate more empirically-grounded methodology into my research of contemporary media and political discourses in Turkey and Bosnia. As the leading research centre focussing on the interdisciplinary corpus-driven research of the language in the social context, CASS was a natural choice for seeking theoretical and practical consultation, as well as assistance in the more technological aspects of carrying out a corpus-driven study. I was also attracted to the openness of CASS towards applications of corpus-driven methods to the study of history (which I consider to be my core discipline), as well expertise on topics related to Islam.

Since February 2014, I have worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the History Institute, Ruhr University Bochum (Germany). There, I am working on a research project entitled “Turkish Foreign Policy and pro-Turkish activism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2002-2014): Discourse and actors“, which is funded by the Alexander von Humboldt foundation. In this project, I examine the media promotion of Turkey in this country by applying the Discourse Historical Approach to CDA on textual material in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BHS) and Turkish produced by state and non-state pro-Turkish actors, both Turkish and Bosnian Muslim. The academic research on recent Turkish foreign policy and conservative cultural trends has risen in the past years as a reaction to the very active, influential and visible Turkish involvement on the world stage, mostly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Bosnia and Herzegovina, with its large Muslim population and its legacy of recent war, has a special symbolical importance for the ruling political party. The systematic study of the discourse which drives the Turkish official and non-official foreign policy coordinated by the government is still in its early stages.

During my fieldwork research stay in Sarajevo in summer of 2014, I started collecting textual material on Turkey in Bosnian media since 1990s. Additionally, in order to clarify the background of this material I carried out numerous interviews with persons active in pro-Turkish and/or Islamic groups promoting Turkey and participated in public events and religious ceremonies.

Due to very large amount of available media related to the research subject and possibility of more comprehensive quantitative backing of conclusions, I decided to upgrade my CDA research by applying the corpus-driven approach. Currently, I am building a corpus of pro-Turkish digitalized texts from Bosnian media (in BHS and Turkish languages), collected from private digital media collections, the Internet and by scanning the newspapers.

I plan to segment the corpus into chronologically delimited corpora and to extract keyword nouns and their semantic fields (KWIC, collocations, word-clusters) from each one of these corpora.  The extracted data would be used to analyse changes (or continuities) in discursive practices in the pro-Turkish discourse in Bosnia since 1990s. Assistance for this task should be provided by network visualizations (e.g. networks of keyword’s collocations). Because I am still in the initial phase of acquiring technical and methodological knowledge related to corpus linguistics, I started a smaller pilot project to try out the corpus-driven approach. I collected all Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan´s speeches (2003-2014), interviews and other statements in both in English and Turkish which were available online. Currently, I’m writing a paper on the incorporation of Islamic references in his political discourse which I plan to analyse by using AntConc tool on the chronologically divided corpora of Erdogan political statements. The major problems I am facing in scope of my pilot project include building a representative reference corpus and lemma lists for Turkish.

My stay at the LU is funded by European Research Stay Programme of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


Are you interested in being a visiting researcher at CASS? Email us at cass(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)lancs.ac.uk with details about your project and your proposed time and duration of stay for more information.